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BNELIT - Datenbank zu Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wissenschaftliche Literatur und Materialien
Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wiss. Literatur und Materialien (BNELIT)
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Toward designing sustainability education programs: a survey of master′s programs through semi-structured interviews.
Sustainability Science
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With the emergence of sustainability science as an academic field, sustainability education (SE) has increasingly been discussed in terms of nurturing students′ competencies to bring about environmental innovation and global sustainability. The requirements of SE include covering a wide spectrum of knowledge from diverse disciplines and collaborating with real-world stakeholders to solve the sustainability issues being faced in society. A number of SE programs have been implemented at university level, often teaching various methods and tools (e.g., life cycle assessment) and offering project-based learning. However, relatively less knowledge is available to understand how existing SE programs were designed, particularly in terms of the relationship between vision (e.g., expected competencies that students will obtain), curriculum, and admission policy. This paper aims to clarify the opportunities and challenges in designing SE programs at master′s level, through semi-structured interviews and online surveys at 14 leading universities that already run SE programs in Australia, Europe, North America, and Japan. Based on the interviews and surveys, the relationship between expected graduates′ careers, curriculum, and faculty organization was analyzed. The results of comparative analysis revealed that the existing SE programs can be classified into two categories according to graduates′ careers—specialist-oriented programs and generalist-oriented programs. Although the core competencies with which students are to be equipped vary depending on the program, curriculum contents across the categories share identical concepts in sustainability science. From an institutional perspective, it is important to incentivize faculty members to sustain and enhance SE programs. Arguably, fair evaluation systems need to be established for faculty members and SE programs.
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